University of New England will redevelop residential building Robb College

Robb College
Robb College

AFTER more than 50 years, Robb College accommodation buildings will be demolished and rebuilt.  

This decision was made on safety grounds, specifically due to fire safety issues, a University of New England spokeswoman said. 

“A half century later it became clear that the limitations of Robb’s construction materials, coupled with decades of expanding regulation governing student accommodation, had resulted in structures that were unsafe for occupation, leaving redevelopment of Robb as the only viable option for the University,” the spokeswoman said.

 "As the safety issues are in many respects structural, there is no intention on the part of University management to re-open the Robb College buildings as they stand. 

“To ensure we maintain the high standard of on-campus accommodation UNE is renowned for, it has become necessary to redevelop our residential accommodation to meet modern requirements and expectations.”

The college accommodation buildings were vacated in September 2014, and Robb students were moved to the former Drummond and Smith College residences.   The decision has been met by criticism with people concerned about the historical value of the site. 

But the spokesperson said the university is “committed to preserving as much of what is good about Robb as is feasible”. 

“UNE fully acknowledges the heritage value of Robb College, specifically the iconic dining hall,” she said. 

This will include retaining and restoring the college dining hall to its former glory and designing the new residential courts to match the footprints of the original design.